US discussions held on safe haven in Iraq
A US Congressman, Jeff Fortenberry, has called for the creation a “safe” province in Iraq to protect Christians from atrocities committed by Islamic State (IS), CNS has reported. He introduced legislation last Friday seeking international support for locating such a province in the Nineveh Plain, a 1600-square-mile region of northern Iraq, where there is already a strong indigenous Christian tradition. The safe relocation or return of Christians to the region was discussed at a convention of the US group, In Defense of Christians, last week. In March, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, declared that the acts of violence committed against Christian communities in the Middle East by IS were genocide.
WCC and Roman Catholics review relations
A JOINT working group set up in 1965 of members of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is reviewing the relationship between the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church in a five-day meeting at the Ecumenical Centre in Switzerland, this week. The WCC represents 348 member Churches, but the Roman Catholic Church has never been a member. The WCC said that this relationship would be a key focus of the session, which is also to discuss co-operation on inter-religious relations, refugees and migrants, and justice and peace.
Indian Council of Churches consults on persecution
THE National Council of Churches in India, representing around 30 Churches, held a consultation by Christian and Muslim leaders in New Delhi last week to address reports of escalating violence against religious minorities in the country. Fifty faith leaders met on Monday last week to discuss freedom of religion and belief in India under its Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and federal government. Arson attacks on churches, forced conversions to Hinduism, murder, rape, and the destruction of Christian schools and cemeteries have been reported in recent months. “Every Indian should have the right to practise and promote their religion peacefully,” Fr Devasagaya Raj, the secretary of the Indian Catholic Bishops’ Conference for Dalit and indigenous groups, said.